Making a Good First Impression (At an interview or internship)

Mallory Powell | Campus Recruiting Manager, Vector East

Before working with young adults in marketing, I spent 4 years as a casting assistant in New York City working on some of the hottest shows at the time. Namely, Gossip Girl, Masterchef and Law and Order: SVU. After years of acting and auditioning, I sat on the other side of the table and learned just how quickly a casting decision is made. I found that you have approximately 8 seconds to impress a casting director in an audition… eight seconds! From the time you walk in the door into the center of the room, they have already decided whether you are going to be considered for the part.

Luckily, in a professional setting you have a little more time to make a good first impression on a potential employer. Here a few key tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview or internship:

Professional Appearance

As superficial as it may be, a large factor of your first impression is how you look. If you walk into an interview smelling like cigarettes or covered in cat hair, I promise you that interview is going to be very short and will not work out in your favor. Being clean and well-groomed is important in everyday life but especially in a professional setting.

Despite the popularity of casual dress in many offices across the country, it is always a good idea to dress professionally for an interview. Think Will Ferrell and John C. Riley a la’ Step Brothers. A good rule of thumb is that y, just don’t wear an actual tux. Especially when you’re trying to make a good impression as a candidate or a new hire, being well dressed shows your potential employers that you want to be there and want to work for this company in the future.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Being over-prepared for an interview is never a bad thing. Have multiple copies for your resume printed out and safely kept in a folder so that they aren’t a wrinkled mess. Human Resources Director at N3rd Street Gamers, Pete Powell, says, “One of my biggest pet peeves is when a candidate sits down with me and I can tell they haven’t even Googled our company.” Do your research on the company you’re interviewing with and prepare some questions ahead of  . You will probably have more questions throughout the interview as well, so bring a notepad with you.

Go Above and Beyond

A notepad or a note-taking app is going to be your best resource when you’re an intern. Write down every task and every question that you have. Never assume that you are going to remember everything. Writing everything down can also help inspire new ideas and thoughts to help you go above and beyond as an intern (or employee.) An internship is really just an extended interview. You have a few weeks or months to show a potential employer what value you can add to their team and the company.

Attitude is everything.

No matter how many interviews you go into that nervous energy never completely goes away – but it’s ok to be nervous! Being confident, positive and pleasant will always outshine your nerves. In any team setting, one person’s mood or negativity can bring down an entire group. Don’t let that person be you. Keeping an open and positive attitude can be the factor that lands you a permanent position with a company.

Since 1981, Vector Marketing has been helping students to gain confidence in interpersonal communication, presentations and organizational skills. Vector’s flexible schedules and fun culture make it a great place for students to improve upon professional skills that they’re going to need to succeed in any career. For more information visit

Categories: College & Career Advice, Tips For Finding A Job